The Council of Chief Imams and Ulama (COCIU), Lagos State, has organized a workshop on mosque management for chief imams and mosque administrators in the local governments under the five divisions in the state: Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos Island and Epe.
The workshop, held at the Lagos Central Mosque, Nnamdi Azikiwe Street, Lagos Island, was the first in a series of regular programs that the Lagos COCIU plans to set up for the benefit of the Imams.
Aside from the workshop, which is expected to take place quarterly, the council’s other programs include an annual seminar for imams, a harmonized zakat and sadaqah initiative, the establishment of new cemeteries in the state’s five wards, and a unified Jumu ‘ah sermon.
The State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, declared the workshop open and praised the council for initiating the workshop on the theme “Mosque Management: The Role of Individuals”.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Abdulkadir Obafemi Hamzat, said: “I know that this workshop is being organized for the specific purpose of enhancing the capacity of our Chief Imams and other mosque staff to effectively and efficiently assume the responsibility of managing the affairs of the mosque in accordance with Islamic guidelines. . Therefore, the management of the mosque is essential as it is a gathering point for all Muslims.”
In a speech, COCIU’s chief host and president, the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaimon Abu-Nola, revealed the purpose of the workshop by drawing inspiration from the Quranic injunction on the importance of shura (mutual consultation) among believers and the prophetic tradition: “Wisdom is a believer’s lost property; he deserves it the most wherever he finds it.”
He said: “Looking at our current situation in Lagos State and other parts of the Southwest, we see that we face many challenges, from economics and health care to politics. We must therefore map out a way forward together and our starting point is the mosque.
“Our situation in the southwest is peculiar, as the Muslim-Christian population is in the region of 50-50. This is different from what we have in northern Nigeria where Muslims are above 75 percent.
“In the Arab-Muslim world such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Syria, da’wah activities and charitable projects are placed under the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs. But the government is not interested in this.
“So the responsibility to generate funds is left to the individual religion and since all matters related to the mosques begin and end with our imams, without an appropriate welfare package, it behooves us to look within for possible solutions.”
In his talk entitled “Mosque Management: Generating Funds from Members of the Mosque,” the first guest speaker, Professor Luqman Zakariyah of the Islamic Studies Department of the University of Abuja, emphasized the mosque’s role in the growth of Muslims in both primitive and modern times.
According to him, the management of mosque funds is to achieve the protection of Muslim wealth, provide general capacity for the Islamic financial sector and actively promote sustainable development goals (SDGs).
As for how to generate funds for the mosque, the professor of Islamic jurisprudence cited public donations such as zakat, sadaqah and waqf as potential fundraising programs for mosques in Nigeria.
He went on to provide practical illustrations of how to seamlessly generate funds from personal donations from members of every mosque in the states.
The national missionary of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Ahmad, who was represented by Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Adangba, spoke about the well-being of the mosque’s key imams and officials.
Sheikh Ahmad cited a lack of leadership skills, materialism, ego and stinginess as some of the problems within the ranks of imams and Islamic scholars that urgently need to be addressed.
During the event, health, safety and legal experts and professionals gave short lectures on the importance of the mosque.
There were also admonitions from the Chief Imam of the Nigerian Air Force, Lagos, Colonel Aliu Yusuf; the Chief Imam of the Nigeria Police Force (Zone 2), Lagos, Imam Jamiu Raji and Acknowledgments by Alhaji Abdulwasiu Nola.